Sunflower fields and Plein Air Painting

creating beautiful, personalized centerpieces for any celebration.

I am not a fan of plein air painting…. there I said it.  It is very hard to do for me.  I typically get a rough painting on the canvas, let it dry overnight, then work on the painting till its done.  Unfortunately if you keep mixing paint, you end up with what artists refer to as “mud”.  So moving wet paint around a canvas can be pretty difficult for me.  So Plein air has always been daunting.  Nevermind lugging all your equipment, dealing with the elements, and being on display while you paint.  All tough for me!

But it looks like the universe was giving me a push this year! My daughter is starting an AP art class for her senior year, and on her list of things to do this summer is paint plein air. Plein Air painting would be a much different experience with my daughter. So we packed up our art supplies and headed to a local farm that has stunning sunflower fields.

If you have not painted plein air, one tip I have always found helpful was to cut the canvas shape out on a piece of paper, and use it to frame your painting.  So helpful!

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After picking her view, my daughter sat down at her easel to paint, and I immediately was inspired.  Why not paint my daughter?

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I did what I could at the site, and will add a few more details once it dries.  Overall it was a great painting day, with only a few casualties of bugs flying into my painting.  So if you are an artist, and thinking about painting Plein Air, I encourage you to try!  It is always great to step out of your comfort zone, and I certainly did today!

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If you would like to see these sunflower fields, there is a festival this weekend, July 20-21st.  It is located at Buttonwoods Farm, off of Rte 165 in Griswold.  They sell bouquets of sunflowers, and the proceeds go to the Make a wish foundation.  As an added bonus they also sell delicious ice cream!  So if you are local to Griswold, Ct, you should make the trip!

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The art of embracing Failure

Who determines what failure is? How is it determined? When it is determined? I recently had a conversation with a family member who had packed their family up, moved across the country, following a dream. We were, and are so proud of them for chasing a dream. Even if it seems to have stalled at the moment. Speaking with them, reminded me of my own dream. And how difficult it can be. For every success, there is doubt and frustration that follows. Through these struggles, I find quotes very comforting. After my talk with my cousins, I came across a quote I had saved from an artist that I follow online. She is a southern artist, named Mary Gilkerson. Mary has a wonderful, bold brushstroke style, with tons of color. She makes videos with tips, and has a lovely southern drawl while speaking. I am telling you all about her because she said something that has stuck with me. What she said is “Failure is your First attempt”

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Almost every new discovery, new record holder or great work of art started with failure. And if they gave up, we would not have the medicines we have, cars, phones, art, I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Artists, business owners, musicians, and anyone else that take chances, improve our world. So its not a bad thing to put yourself out there and take a chance. And if you do fail, remember Mary’s words…. It is your first attempt.

To see Mary’s work please click here

 

 

 

 

 

Painting Challenge Finis!

The painting challenge is done, and I am thankful.  It is not easy having something to post everyday.  Especially the size that I did for most of the challenge.  It was recommended that we do smaller paintings, or studies.  I think I will try to do more of those next time!  Problem is, I am enjoying painting on larger canvases!  I used to be intimidated by their size, but now I enjoy it!

Today we post a collage of all of our art posted through the challenge. Here is mine!

I hope you enjoyed seeing my art each day.  I would love to hear what you thought!

Thanks always for following my page!

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Painting Challenge Day 23

Day 24- Lit up for the holiday…. inspired by a photo my brother sent me that he took on his way to work one morning. I loved the pic, but was nervous to paint it. How to make it look like lights? and the background was just a dark night… so I thought about it and decided some Christmas trees for a background might do the trick. Then I added a visitor hopping by……. this will eventually be for sale in my etsy shoppe. Happy Monday!

 

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The art of creating a digital image

Being an artist in today’s world, means that most of us need digital images for submissions, or what have you, online.  I recently came across another artist struggling to create  digital images, and I remembered how I struggled as well.

A lot of artists use a camera, and that is fine too, but I favor a scanner.  It really creates a nice image, so nice that I am able to submit my art to a licensing company and have it published.  So you can be reassured that I have experience with digital images.

First off, I scan all my images on a Canon Scanner Mark 3000.  I shopped around to try to get a scanner with the largest screen, knowing my paintings are not document size.  That is not an easy thing to find, especially within a budget.  I settled on the Canon scanner, and have honestly been thrilled with it.  It works great!!! (I do not have the large screen, so that is why I learned to “stitch” them together)

First you need to scan your painting.  I have seen artists take the top of the scanner, build a light box, and scan their art.  Genius!  But you need the room to do this, and also the correct scanner.  My scanner does not work without the top, so this was not an option for me.

  1.  Hook scanner up and place dried painting face down on the scanner. Wet paintings give a glare from the shine of being wet, and do not scan well.  How do I know?  Lots of experience……  If your scanner has a cover, its not going to close all the way because of the painting.  So you will need to get something to cover the whole setup.  Otherwise you end up with scans that have different lighting.  Please see pic of my scanning setup.

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The above pic shows painting face down on scanner.  Lid will not close, so you need to put something over scanner and painting.

 

Photo Mar 30, 8 48 37 AMI use an old, dark tablecloth to cover mine.  I had to put something heavy on painting to hold it in place, so I grabbed what was handy, which was the vase you see in photo.

2.  When scanning painting, you have to do sections at a time, so try to notice what area you have done. Overlapping is a good thing.  And make sure the painting is lined up nicely to edges of scanner.  If it is crooked, it will be a nightmare later stitching them together.  I use the software that came with my scanner.  There are usually a few settings, so you may have to play with them a bit, to get an image that looks like your art.  Sometimes the colors can be off, so please get these settings correct before scanning, it will save you a lot of heartbreak.

3.  Once they are all scanned, open Adobe Photoshop.  I use Elements, as this software can get a bit pricey, and elements has all of what I need. Once photoshop is open, please go to File—–New—-Blank File.  This is what I put in:

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I make a large file, so it all fits.  I later crop it to a smaller size.  This may not work for everyone, I am not a teacher, just an artist sharing my knowledge.

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So, as you see from image above, I have my two scanned images open, as well as the file I am going to paste them into.  Here is where you would rotate the file if needed, so it comes in correctly when pasted into new document.  If you notice, at the top of my image there is a white area with paint spots.  All the times I was not patient, and painting was wet, left paint on scanner.  Don’t worry about the edges being off at this point, we will crop image later.

4.  Now that files are open, go into one of the image files and hit Select—–All.  You should see the image border get highlighted with a dashed line.  Then go to Edit——Copy.  What you have done is copied image to be inserted.

5. Now toggle over to Untitled, or the document that you created in the first steps. Hit Edit—–Paste.  The image will be in your document.  Do the same for all the images that you have scanned.  Copy and paste them into your document. When you are done, it will look like you have only one image, as they usually insert into the same spot as the first.

inserted.jpg6.  Above is what your screen should look like.  This is where I now crop a bit so I do not have such a large image to work with.  Go to the crop tool, and click on it, then go around the images.

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crop2.jpgOnce the file is cropped, and smaller, now is a good time to save the file.  Go to File—–save as—- and save it.

7.  Next I use the “move” tool to move the images off one another.

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8.  Once you can see them both, I then click on one of them in the layer section, and make it transparent. 60 -70% is usually a good percentage.

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9.  The next part is to zoom in, so you can see the brush strokes.  Once they are close sometimes Adobe will do it for you.  I like to make sure, and zoom in very tight, and do it myself.  See how well they are fitting?

move2.jpg10.   Next thing is to go back to layer, and put transparency back to 100.  Once that is done, you will see there is a definitive line.  See it circled? overlap2.jpg11.  To get rid of that line we are going to use the select command. On the bottom of the screen you will see there is a feather option.  You MUST change this to 23 or so.  This softens the edges, and will make that edge go away.

12.  Once you put 23 in, go to the image and select along that line as shown.select3.jpg

13.  Right click with your mouse after creating selection, to get the pop up menu.  Hit Layer Via cut.  Go the layer you made, and right click.  Delete it.  The line will disappear.

14.  Merge your layers so you have one layer. (Right click on layer)

15.  Save image as jpeg.  Next you should edit the image for brightness, color, and fix any other imperfections.  Then save again.  Voila! You have created a stitched together image!

 

Good luck!

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Painting Challenge Day 10

Day 10 was inspired by my facebook friend Gerald’s pic.  He had a friend that had this pretty wreath on their door, and a bird had made a nest in it.  What could be more lovely?  To have a pretty wreath and have a bird make a home in it.  Of course I could not resist it, so here it is in a painting.

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This painting is 12″ square, and is available in my etsy shoppe.  For more info, please click here.